Jay Waitkus

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The Session

Feb 22, 2021 by Jay Waitkus, in Short Stories

Complete text of The Session by Jay Waitkus

“DO you know why you’re here?”



“Because of the women.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“The women they’re saying I killed.”

“Are you claiming you didn’t kill them, Mr. Greely?”

“No, I’m not saying that.”

“You’re aware of the circumstances of your arrest.”

“I am.”

“Yet you claim to remember nothing of the events leading up to your capture?”

“It’s happened before.”

“When you were a child?”

“Don’t insult my intelligence, Doctor. You’re well acquainted with my file.”

“And you’ve seen the newspapers.”

“Yes, I have.”

“You’re aware of the way in which you were found?”

“In a near-catatonic state, covered in the last girl’s blood.

“You don’t seem particularly remorseful.”

“None of it seems real to me.”

“So you say.”

“You don’t believe me?”

“That’s what we’re here to determine.”

“Whether you believe my version of events is of little consequence to me.”

“I would think it would be of great consequence.”


“Because your life probably depends on it.”

“Because if I’m declared sane, I’ll be convicted.”

“Of thirteen murders.”

“None of which I remember.”

“The prospect of the death penalty doesn’t frighten you?”

“I’m not afraid of death,” Greely replied. “I want people to know the truth.”

“The evidence against you is overwhelming.”

“So I’m told.”

“Newspaper clippings found in a scrapbook in your apartment, your prints on the murder weapon, a journal detailing the killings.”

“And the fact that I was caught in the act that last time out?”

“Your words.”

“I’m only repeating what others have told me. I don’t remember any of it.”

“Not even the journal?”


“All right, then. Let’s begin.”

“By all means.”

“You were born in Connecticut.”


“And grew up in an orphanage.”

“As did you,” Greely said.

“How do you know that?”

“I read about you in the newspaper.”

“Newspaper? Ah, yes, the award.”

“Did the reporter get your information right?”

“Yes, generally.”

“I read that as a boy you were taken in by —”

“Let’s get back to you.”


“You were never adopted.”

“No, I wasn’t,” Greely replied.

“Tell me about the orphanage.”

“It was miserable. I was abused.”


“Sexually, emotionally, physically — every way imaginable.”

“By the caretaker?”

“It’s in the file.”

“I want to hear it from you,” the doctor said.

“Have you ever wondered why you were put up for adoption?”

“This is your session, Mr. Greely.”

“Touchy subject?”

“Would you prefer to go back to your cell?”

“You were talking about the orphanage.”

“I was trying to.”

“It was a pit.”

“And the caretaker?”

“Mullins. He abused me.”

“How old were you when it began?”

“I don’t remember. Five, maybe six.”

“And you killed him?”

“It was self-defense.”

“With a butcher’s knife, while he was asleep?”

“He was a pedophile. I didn’t feel I had a choice.”

“You were how old at the time?”


“And you were discovered by an orderly in a state much like —”

“When the police arrested me last month.”


“I suppose you think I was faking then, too. As a child.”

“You were declared sane,” the doctor said.

“I wasn’t.”

“And you spent the next eight years —”

“In a juvenile detention facility.”

“Tell me about that.”

“It was worse than the orphanage.”

“In what way?”

“I don’t like to talk about it.”

“Were you beaten?”

“Almost everyday.”

“By the guards?”

“Yes. And the other boys, too.”

“Were you molested?”

"What do you think?"

"Three of the boys you had problems with during your stay met violent ends, didn’t they?”

Greely smiled.

“Yes, they did,” he said.

“One of them died when you were eleven.”

“Someone stabbed him.”

“Another when you were fourteen.”

“Also stabbed.”

“And another only two weeks before you were released.” “

“He drowned in the pool.”

“Did you kill them?”

“Do you really expect me to answer that?”

“You’re not on trial for those murders.”

“What are you writing?”

“Just a note,” the doctor said.

“It’s a little soon to form an opinion, isn’t it?”

“It’s just a note, Mr. Greely. Tell me about Mark Jenkins.”

“He was the only friend I’ve ever had.”

“He ran a program at the youth facility?”

“Yes, but he wasn’t part of it.”

“What do you mean?”

“He didn’t work for the state. He ran a private company that helped juvenile offenders.”

“You went to work for him upon your release.”


“And you finished your education?”

“Getting into college wasn’t difficult. My juvenile records were sealed.”

“But then Mr. Jenkins passed away?”

“He committed suicide. I suppose you’re going to accuse me of killing him, too.”

“I haven’t accused you of killing anyone.”

“It’s in your eyes. You think this is a ploy.”

“I haven’t formed any opinion yet,” the doctor said.

“I don’t blame you,” Greely replied.

“For what?”

“For thinking I’m faking.”

“I told you I —”

“Haven’t formed an opinion yet. Yes, I heard you.”

“You don’t believe me?”

“You read the newspapers, too. They’re screaming for my blood. A pre-conceived notion or two wouldn’t be out of line.”

“Do you want to be convicted?”

“I’m not sure. If I’ve done what they say I have, maybe I should be. Whether I’m sane or not.”

“You almost sound sincere, Mr. Greely.”


“On the other hand, the benefits of trying to bluff your way through this process are fairly obvious.”

“Not to me.”


“Do you think I want to be sent to a mental institution?”

“It’s better than lethal injection.”

“I told you I’m not afraid to die.”

“Maybe you’d be ‘cured’ again.”

“They’d never release me.”

“Given time, they might. If your recovery progressed well enough — or if your act was good enough.”

“I hadn’t thought about it.”



“Then why bother with this defense of yours?”

“Because I don’t remember the killings. I want people to know the truth.”

“You mentioned that before.”

“May I ask you a question?”

“As long as it pertains to this session.”

“If you’re so convinced I’m faking, why are you bothering with me at all?”

“I told you I haven’t formed an opinion. Why do you think Mr. Jenkins committed suicide?”

“His lying harlot of a wife left him and took their children.”

“I see.”

“Would you like to talk about something that’s not in the file?”


“After I was released from the youth center, Mark helped me find out who my mother was.”


“She was a junkie. She died a year after she put me up for adoption.”

The doctor made another note.

“Now what?” Greely asked.

“Nothing. What about your father?”

“I never found him. I’ve had enough of this. Send me back to my cell.”

“You’d rather be in your cell than here?”

“I’m at a disadvantage either way, Doctor. And I don’t like it.”

“I take it being in police custody isn’t very pleasant.”

“Neither is this ‘conversation.’ You keep writing things about me, but then you tell me it’s not my concern.”

“You don’t get to read my notes, Mr. Greely.”

“It seems I don’t have any rights. Send me back.”

“Is that really what you want?”

“What I want is to know what you find so interesting about tracking down my mother.”

“It wasn’t in the file,” the doctor said.


“That’s it.”

“No. You’re lying. You already know the truth. About all of it.”

“What are you talking abou —”

“You’re no doctor,” Greely said. “Just something in my mind. A conscience, I suppose. Though not much of one. You’ve been part of everything in my life, haven’t you? Even the killings.”

“I don’t know what you’re trying to—”

“Enough,” said Greely. “You’re not fooling anyone. You’re as guilty as I am, and you know it.” 


Format: E-book

Original publication date: 6/6/2007

Reissue date: 2/22/2021

Publisher: Elizabeth River Press

Cover image: NZ Graphics